Political leaders react to the shooting and death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Political leaders react to the shooting and death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during his press conference at the prime minister official residence in Tokyo on August 28, 2020.Frank Robichon/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
  • Former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot and killed on Friday.
  • Abe's death shocked world leaders, who described the former PM as an outstanding leader.

Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of Japan, was killed on Friday, officials confirmed.

Abe, 67, was shot at 11:30 a.m. local time while giving a campaign speech in western Japan, according to Kyodo News. Abe, who was airlifted to a hospital in the city, was said to be "unconscious and unresponsive." He was pronounced dead at 5:03 p.m.

A 41-year-old man was arrested at the scene in relation to the incident, per NHK.

Abe's shooting and subsequent death shocked former and current political leaders around the world. Abe, Japan's longest-serving prime minister, spent nine years in office before resigning in 2020, citing health reasons.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a series of tweets that Japan has "lost in a most tragic way a great leader who loved this country and was always looking one step ahead, working tirelessly for a better future for Japan."


Kishida called Abe "a close friend" and an "outstanding leader."

"His steady hand guided our nation through a number of severe internal and external crises," he said.

US President Joe Biden condemned the assassination of Abe, saying that he is "stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened" by his death.

"This is a tragedy for Japan and for all who knew him," Biden said in a statement.

Former President Barack Obama, under whom Biden served as vice president, said in a statement on Twitter that he is "shocked and saddened by the assassination of my friend and longtime partner Shinzo Abe in Japan."


Former President Donald Trump said he was "devastated" by the attempt on Abe's life before the news broke that Abe died.

Trump had previously lauded Abe as "the greatest prime minister in Japan's history."

"Absolutely devastating news that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, a truly great man and leader, has been shot, and is in very serious condition. He was a true friend of mine and, much more importantly, America. This is a tremendous blow to the wonderful people of Japan, who loved and admired him so much. We are all praying for Shinzo and his beautiful family!" Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social.

Former President George W. Bush denounced the "senseless assassination" of Abe.

"Shinzo Abe was a patriot of his country who wanted to continue serving it," Bush said in a statement.


Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wrote in a post on Twitter that he was shocked that Abe was shot.

"Our thoughts are with his family and the people of Japan at this time," he wrote.

US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel praised Abe for being "an unwavering ally" of the US.

"We are all saddened and shocked by the shooting of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. Abe-san has been an outstanding leader of Japan and unwavering ally of the United States. The U.S. Government and American people are praying for the well-being of Abe-san, his family, and people of Japan," Emanuel told Insider in a statement.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said his thoughts were with Abe's family and the Japanese people.


"I do have to say before we meet how deeply saddened and concerned we are by the news coming from Japan about the attempt on the life of Prime Minister Abe," Blinken said at the G20 foreign ministers meeting in Bali. "This is a very, very sad moment and we are awaiting news," he added.

Israeli Ambassador to Japan Gilad Cohen commemorated Abe's commitment to building diplomacy between their nations. "I am surprised at the shocking incident that occurred in Nara," Cohen wrote in Japanese on Twitter.

"One of Japan's leading leaders, Abe, was the driving force behind the building of today's friendly relations between Israel and Japan, and the strong bond between the two countries would not have been possible without his presence. I pray for your safety from the bottom of my heart," Cohen continued.

Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, said her thoughts were with Abe's wife and the Japanese public.

"So deeply shocked to hear about the past PM of Japan-Shinzo Abe. He was one of the first leaders I met when I became PM. He was deeply committed to his role but also generous & kind. My thoughts are with his wife and the people of Japan. Events like this shake us all to the core," Ardern wrote on Twitter.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he was appalled by the shooting. "My thoughts are with his family and loved ones," Johnson added.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen condemned the attack on Abe, describing him as a "good friend" of Taiwan.

"I believe everyone is as surprised and sad as I am. Taiwan and Japan are both democratic countries with rule of law," she wrote in Mandarin in a Facebook post.

"Former Prime Minister Abe is not only a good friend of mine, but also a staunch friend of Taiwan's. He has supported Taiwan for many years and spared no effort to promote the progress of Taiwan-Japan relations," Tsai added.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, wrote on Twitter that she's praying for Abe's family.


"Dear @AbeShinzo, stay strong! Our thoughts and prayers are with your family and the people of Japan," von der Leyen wrote.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote in a Facebook post that the attack was a "senseless act of violence" and that he was "deeply shocked."

"Mr Abe is in critical condition and doctors are working to save him. Mr Abe is a good friend of Singapore. I had just hosted him to lunch in May, on my visit to Tokyo. My thoughts and prayers are with Mr Abe and his family," Lee added.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said before Abe died that the Chinese government wishes for his recovery.

"We are following the development of the situation and hope that former Prime Minister Abe will get out of danger and recover soon," Zhao said at a regular briefing, according to Reuters.


Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez condemned the attack and added that his country stands in solidarity with Japan.

"Shocked by the shooting of the former Prime Minister of Japan, @AbeShinzo," Sanchez tweeted in Spanish."Our best wishes to him and his family and our resounding condemnation of this cowardly attack. Spain stands in solidarity with the Japanese people in these difficult times."

French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron described the attack on Abe as "heinous." "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of a great Prime Minister," Macron wrote in Twitter post in French. "France stands by the Japanese people."

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol's office acknowledged Abe's shooting but had declined to comment before the Japanese government released updates on Abe's condition, according to The New York Times.